Fiddlin' Around. The violin has a long and prominent tradition in jazz, starting with the swing of Stuff Smith through the fusion of Michael Urbaniak. Svend Asmussen shares the page in the jazz style book between Smith and Stephane Grappelli. He recorded his first sides in 1935 and became widely popular in his native Denmark. He recorded with Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, John Lewis, Toots Theilemans and Lionel Hampton. This present disc finds Asmussen captured live with his quartet in 1996. The then 80 year old was quite spry.
dacapo. Fit as a Fiddle was released by decapo records in 1997. Decapo records is a division of Naxos International, specializing in Scandanavian music and music made by Scandanavians. Dacapo Jazz specifically records Danish musicians. The label boasts many releases from the very fine Danish Radio Big Band and, of course, the ever-present NHØP.
Urbane Creativity. This is one of the most listener friendly jazz violin discs I have ever heard. Asmussen rises to all occasions, playing fast Bebop on the disc opener, "Running Wild" or gently caressing a ballad as in "I Loves You Porgy" (a disc highlight) or "Prelude to a Kiss". Asmussen's duet with Jacob Fischer playing slide guitar on"The Mooch" is slinky sensuous. Asmussen displays some pretty swift double-stop playing on his own "Take Off Blues" and a bit of the old country feel on "Columbine Polka Mazurka".
Fit as a Fiddle is straight down the middle, swinging, jazz propelled by a guitar trio supporting ajazz violin master who should be better known on this side of the pond. Another feather in the cap of Naxos International
Track Listing: Running Wild, Bye Bye Blackbird, Take Off Blues, I Loves You Porgy, Wrapping It Up, Groove Merchant, Latino, Columbine Polka Mazurka, The Mooch, Prelude to a Kiss, Night In Tunsia.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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